Dozens of Tourists Claim to Fall Ill When Visiting the Dominican Republic

June 11, 2019 Updated: June 11, 2019

Dozens of tourists became unwell while on vacation in the Dominican Republic in the past three months, an online food safety service has claimed.

Website iwaspoisoned.com has collected nearly 70 cases of tourists becoming violently ill since March while the victims were vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

The figure has increased by nearly 600 percent from the 10 cases reported throughout 2018. So far in June, 52 tourists have confirmed symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.

More than 86 percent of these tourists identified themselves as guests at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana, 136 miles northeast of Santo Domingo. Other affected guests stayed at the Vista Sol Punta Cana Beach, Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana, and Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana.

“We started to see unusual activity in April when six people reported being ill on the island but in June it exploded,” iwaspoisoned.com founder Patrick Quade told the New York Post.

A family of four claimed they became violently ill after dining at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Toro restaurant during a week-long vacation.

Although the family had paid for an all-inclusive package, they had to stay an extra night at the hotel because they were too ill to travel, costing them an extra $847.

When they finally boarded their June 1 United Airlines flight home to New York, the passenger next to the mother, an 87-year-old woman, said she and another member of her family were hospitalized after eating at the same restaurant.

Quade believes it is possible a number of cases involved more than just food poisoning.

“People report food borne illnesses but it’s possible that they experienced some other type of contamination,” he said.

At least three people died at resorts on the island in May, with family members claiming the victims died from pulmonary edema and respiratory failure.

North Carolina State University Food Microbiologist Lee-Ann Jaykus suggested tourists who come into contact with an insecticide commonly called organophosphate can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even heart problems in the worst case scenarios.

“It is quite possible that Patrick [Quade] has picked up something significant [that is not food related],” Jaykus said.

The Hard Rock Hotel expressed its condolences to the victims and their loved ones.

“While we are deeply saddened by these incidents, and our thoughts go out to all of those affected, we, along with the general public will be monitoring the facts as they unfold surrounding these events,” the establishment said in a statement obtained by the NY Post.

The hotel said it made every effort to ensure its food was safe to eat.

“We are confident that all operational protocols were followed to ensure the safety of our guests,” the establishment said. “The safety and wellness of our guests at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana is now and has always been our highest priority.”

The FBI is now reviewing the death of six tourists who suddenly became mysteriously ill while staying at luxury resorts on the island since the year 2018.

Some victims who survived claim medical professionals in the United States told them their symptoms could be linked to chemicals found in insecticides.

The cases have worried prospective travelers to the Caribbean with one tourist questioning the deaths and illnesses on the Hard Rock Hotel’s Facebook page.

“Can anyone shed light on this? We’re going there this week,” the tourist said on May 9. “I’m so worried now re thinking my trip there.”

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